IndyCar

IndyCar, Texas Motor Speedway reach new four-year agreement

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IndyCar officials on Thursday morning announced a new four-year agreement with Texas Motor Speedway to continue racing at the 1.5-mile superspeedway through 2022.

“IndyCar is pleased to continue its long relationship with Texas Motor Speedway, a partnership that stretches to 1997,” Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said in a statement. “This oval track annually produces some of the most exciting racing of the season, contributes to the diversity of the schedule and helps us continue the oval heritage of Indy car racing.

“It’s good to know that Texas will remain a mainstay of the Verizon IndyCar Series for years to come.”

The first race of the new agreement – the DXC Technology 600 – will be a Saturday night event on June 8, 2019.

“Texas Motor Speedway is the second home of Indy car racing, and we are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Verizon IndyCar Series and with DXC Technology,” Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said in a statement. “We are pleased to have negotiated a sanction agreement that allows Texas Motor Speedway to move forward with IndyCar.

“Our company has invested significant dollars into the sport and a tremendous amount of effort growing the sport through the years.”

TMS has played host to 30 Indy car events since 1997, including two races per year from 1998 to 2004 and a same-day doubleheader in 2011.

Only the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (102 races), the street course in Long Beach, California (35 races) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (34 races) have held more IndyCar races than TMS.

“So many great moments in this sport have occurred at Texas Motor Speedway,” Gossage said. “This is and always will be ‘America’s original nighttime Indy car race.’ Photo finishes and victory lane drama have been the standard over the years.

“No other track has seen as many Verizon IndyCar Series races over the last two-plus decades. Texas Motor Speedway has been good for Indy car racing and Indy car racing has been good for Texas Motor Speedway.”

Scott Dixon won the most recent race there this past June.

IndyCar is expected to announce the full 2019 schedule in September.

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Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.